Members of the Rotary Interact Club had so much fun playing bocce ball at Jack Cushing’s house, they wanted to make sure other residents in town had the opportunity to play too.
On Thursday, that idea became a reality as a new bocce court was unveiled behind Buzzell Senior Center, thanks to the efforts of the Wilmington High School students.
Rotary Interact members held fundraising events earlier in the year and worked with Town Manager Michael Caira, Elderly Services Director Terry Marciello, Department of Public Works employees and of course Cushing, the town’s bocce expert, to help build the court.
“We played at Jack’s house and realized how great of a game it was. I’m not a big sports person, but it is an easy game to play and fun to have a little competition,” said Pat Giroux, the outgoing Rotary Interact president. “We like to help the seniors as much as we can to show them how much we appreciate the dedication they have give to the town throughout their lives. It’s nice to give back to them.”
Marciello said the court provides another outlet for seniors to remain active and social while also enjoying some friendly competition.
“It’s really exciting to see these intergenerational activities, and it adds another form of exercise and getting outside,” said Marciello. “Not everyone knows how to play, but everyone knows what it’s about. I foresee this being very big at the senior center right from the beginning.”
Incoming Rotary Interact president Brooks Carter was on hand for the opening bocce ceremonies as a passing downpour held off long enough for the first game to get underway.
Carter said he is excited about the upcoming year, and is looking forward to the group hitting the ground running in September.
“It’s great to see the expressions on their faces and see how much they appreciate it,” said Carter, who added that he looks forward to continuing the club’s tradition of volunteerism. “I’m looking forward to finding continued success. Pat did a lot of great things, and I hope to follow in his footsteps.”
Cushing said he first became interested in the sport when his wife Sandie introduced him to the game, and one week later presented him with the plans for a bocce court in his own backyard.
Still, the veteran player has no problem admitting who reigns supreme on the courts in the Cushing household.
“She’s the best player in the family,” said Cushing. “I don’t mind letting people know that.”